A very popular annual event -- the Fall Colors Festival -- returns to Hendricks County, Indiana, this year after a pandemic-induced hiatus in 2020. Mark your calendar and make plans to head out to McCloud Nature Park outside of North Salem from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 for a fun-filled family day!

If you haven't experienced fall in Indiana, you are missing a spectacular sight as all the leaves start changing color. One of the best spots to immerse yourself in fall foliage can be found at McCloud Nature Park, that's why the Hendricks County Parks & Recreation holds this annual autumn celebration there.

Visit Indiana regards McCloud Nature Park as one of the best fall foliage spots in the state, and Only In Your State included McCloud in its dreamy road trip to see the best fall foliage across the state. This park is kind of a big deal in the fall.

Park naturalists have gone all-out to line up a day packed with all sorts of fun, family-friendly activities for this year's Fall Colors Festival.

Fun, Educational ActivitiesLearn how to use an atlatl at the Fall Colors Festival at McCloud Nature Park! (Photo courtesy of Deb Stukenborg)

Learn about an ancient hunting weapon called an atlatl, and then see how well you can throw darts at a target. Would you have been able to take down a woolly mammoth with an atlatl?

Continue testing your precision with hitting targets at the archery station. Under the guidance of trained instructors, people of all ages and skill levels can draw a bow and do their best Robin Hood impression.

Decorate a "stumpkin" -- a slice of a tree stump -- to make your own fall or Halloween decoration, and then enjoy a number of other crafts that we'll have throughout the park for the festival.

Have you ever used a manual apple cider press? Discover how this classic piece of machinery has been used over time to squeeze fresh juice from apples to make apple cider.

Hay Rides, Food & MoreCopy of Hayrides at the Fall Colors Festival at McCloud Nature Park

No fall festival is complete without a hay ride! For a nominal fee, enjoy a ride along some of the most scenic trails at McCloud Nature Park and see how the leaves are starting to turn colors. Then, in peak season, you'll know which trails will give you a spectacular view of brilliant autumn foliage.

There will also be food trucks on site, as well as information and demonstration booths, along with some local artisans who will have their unique crafts available for purchase.

(Insider tip: make sure to bring some cash for the hay ride, food trucks, and vendors because cellular service at McCloud is too spotty for credit card machines to work.)

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Prairie MazePrairie Maze walk

Additionally, our free, cicada-themed Prairie Maze will be open for the whole family to explore during the festival. You can find maps to help guide you through the maze at the Nature Center and at the maze entrance. You can also click here to download and print your own map before you head out to McCloud.

(Insider tip: Make sure the whole family is wearing closed-toe shoes that you don't mind getting dirty or muddy inside the maze. The stiff, dried tallgrass stalks don't feel real great when they meet unprotected toes in sandals or flip-flops.)

Admission to the McCloud Nature Park, the McCloud Prairie Maze, the festival and almost all of the activities is free of charge, so make plans to bring the entire family out to the Fall Colors Festival and celebrate fall foliage with us! We'll see you there!

Fall Colors FestivalOperate an apple cider press at the Fall Colors Festival. (Photo by Deb Stukenborg)